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The COVID-19 Pandemic Within the Global Disability Summit Mechanism

The COVID-19 pandemic, in its existence, has impacted the lives of most people on Earth in one way or another.

  • 9 November 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic, in its existence, has impacted the lives of most people on Earth in one way or another. It is the first truly global pandemic in modern times and each of us has been forced to grapple with its effects, both individually and collectively.

Persons with disabilities living in lower and middle-income countries are already dealing with increased health challenges, exacerbated threats to their security, and societal marginalization that negatively impacts nearly every facet of their lives.

We conducted a 2-year report to monitor the progress on implementation of commitments and found that the budgets of development stakeholders are under a lot of pressure. Indeed, the budgets are increasingly cut or redirected towards the COVID-19 response, signaling the start of change. Our survey found that organizations have readily focused on persons with disabilities in their responses to COVID-19.

The global pandemic has impacted the delivery of some GDS18 commitments. COVID-19 is one reason why 10% of the GDS18 commitments in the 2-year report were delayed and work to deliver 2% of them had not been started. Organisations have found their resources stretched by the pandemic and/or they have been impacted by restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Despite the unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was encouraging to see that many exceptional commitments made in London in 2018 were successfully accomplished. It is also promising to learn that many of the commitments are also in the implementation phase.

Even though the global COVID-19 pandemic has undermined global development and continues to affect persons' lives and livelihoods, we hope and expect that more commitments will have been completed or be closer to completion!

The GDS 2022 is the first global platform in the pandemic era that is expected to give opportunities to stakeholders to share their experiences and learn the lessons to strengthen their dedication to realizing inclusive development programs for persons with disabilities.

This information comes from progress self-reported by entities who made pledges at the GDS 2018, collected by the GDS secretariat to incentivize accountability on commitments and but is not an external monitoring process.